British Columbia

Sun Peaks bands together to find missing 20-year-old man

Sun Peaks, a community with a population of 616 people, has come together to help search for 20-year-old Ryan Shtuka who has been missing since February 17.

'When tragedies happen like this in small towns, people really pull together'

Ryan Shtuka was last seen leaving a party on Burfield Drive in the early hours of February 17. (RCMP)

The small community of Sun Peaks, B.C., has come together to help search for 20-year-old Ryan Shtuka, who went missing on Feb. 17. 

The disappearance of the ski lift operator at Sun Peaks has changed the dynamic of the mountain town, which has a population of 616.

"Normally it is a very carefree mountain town, but there's definitely been a different mood over the past week and a half while we look for Ryan," Brandi Schier, publisher of the local newspaper, told CBC's Doug Herbert.

"The other day I was driving up to work and they had the small excavators out, moving big piles of snow around, and you get that terrible, sick feeling in your stomach."

Ryan Shtuka was last seen on Feb. 17, leaving a party on Burfield Drive, in what Schier describes as a nice part of the town, where families and seasonal staff live.

Kamloops Search and Rescue has carried out two searches: one the weekend Shtuka went missing, and one on Feb. 24. 

Local RCMP continue their investigation into Shtuka's disappearance.

Every day, Sun Peaks residents, along with Shtuka's friends and family from Alberta, search for him.

"Almost everyone I know has responded in some way," Schier said. "When tragedies happen like this in small towns, people really pull together."

A Facebook group called Missing: Ryan Shtuka, comprised of nearly 11,000 people from B.C. and Alberta, share their insights and search efforts. 

Residents and local businesses have also been doing what they can to support out-of-town searchers by providing accommodation and free hot meals, Schier said. 

"You just want to do whatever you can to help the family and the friends that are affected by this."

With files from Daybreak Kamloops


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